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Edna's avatar

What is the difference between gustarse and caerse bien?

Asked by Edna (83points) 2 weeks ago

A person on another question and answer forum website had a question about the differences between gustarse and caerse bien and the answers stating the differences shocked me. Caerse bien is a strictly non romantic way of telling someone “I like you.” Gustarse is usually (but not always) a romantic way of telling someone “I like you.” Is this really true? I don’t recall very well if my High School Spanish Class covered this.

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23 Answers

Yeahright's avatar

1. María me cae bien = I like Maria, meaning I think she is nice. (Not romantic)

2. Me gusta María = I like Maria (romantic or not)

The context will determine what you really mean. As it is in English when you like someone whatever else you add to the sentence will determine if you like the person as friends or romantically.

Gustarse this is wrong. This verb should be Gustar (alguien) in infinitive.

Caerse this is wrong. This expresion should be Caer bien (alguien) in infinitive.

The suffix (ending) se is added to verbs in infinitive to indicate they are reflexive and have a conjugation using reflexive pronouns as opposed to regular verb conjugation (inflection).

Caerse means to fall down. Caer bien (alguien) means to like someone (not romantically).

Yeahright's avatar

I don’t recall very well if my High School Spanish Class covered this.
You must have studied it. It is in the contents of Spanish 1, usually chapter 2.

Response moderated
Edna's avatar

@Yeahright Yes, you are right caerse means to fall down, so I guess caerse bien means to fall down really well. This is weird. How can anybobdy fall down really well? That really makes no sense, unless you are an actor or actress on stage practicing the act of falling down well enough to make it look like to the audience you actually fell down. The answers in the other form did not include se at the end of gustar or caer, when they explained what each meant, but the question did, so I asked this question a lot like the person in the other forum. The suffix se got stuck in my head when I quoted the answers in the other forum. My bad. Now I see that this person who initially asked this question was taught from and inaccurate textbook or dictionary because this person said: I understand that gustarse and caerse bien both mean “to like”. Even Google translate says caerse bien means “like each other.” Google translate is not totally reliable.

Yeahright's avatar

@Edna caerse bien means to fall down really well As you said, that doesn’t really make much sense in either language. People don’t usually say that. To fall down is always a bad thing.

Google translate is not totally reliable. No, it is not. The sooner you realize that the better. It is only good to give you a very general idea, but usually not entirely accurate.

The problem with those forums is that a lot of people that don’t actually know the language try to explain things they really don’t understand and there is no one there to correct them. Native speakers sometimes cannot explain these things. They use the language but they do not the explanation of certain structures. It happens with native English speakers as well.

Pandora's avatar

Caerse bien means when someone falls hard for someone. Not to be taken literally. Like in English, when a guy says I fell head over heels for someone. To fall for someone, as in fall in love. Not actually falling.

Yeahright's avatar

^ Caerse bien means when someone falls hard for someone. This is not true.

Pandora's avatar

@Yeahright, True it doesn’t always mean head over heels because it depends on the sentence structure and how it’s said. Just like the word like can mean more than just like. It caerse bein can be translated to mean that you like the person or get along with them. Not every spanish word has only a direct mean in English. Like, this example. Juan siempre intenta caer bien en las reuniones. · Juan always tries to make a good impression in meetings. Or Jose, me cayo bien. I liked Jose. And you can say,“me gusta Jose”, which means I like Jose. Either can mean more or less depending on the context of the conversation. By themselves the both can mean like.

Yeahright's avatar

@Pandora
1. Caer bien never means to fall head over heels.
2.Caerse bien does not exist in the sense the OP wants to know.
3. None of this is a matter of sentence structure (syntax), it is a matter of lexicon and semantics.

Edna's avatar

@michaelhaley Yes. In Spanish 1, I was taught how to say me gusta dibujar (I like to draw), le gusta dibujar (he or she likes to draw). I was taught how to say me encanta dibujar (I really like to draw), le encanta dibujar (he or she really likes to draw). In Spanish 2 I was taught that caerse means to fall down. I looked in my pdf downloads. I have the same repasos de capitulos I studied in High School downloaded from websites on the internet. The minute I found these pdfs I was excited because I can go back and confirm what they taught me then and that is what I have been doing all this time because I had a gut feeling that what I asked about today was not even covered in my High School Spanish Classes. My gut was right. The meanings of caer bien and gustar that Yeahright pointed out are not taught in Spanish 1, 2, or 3, and these terms are not in the repasos de capitulos. Caerse bien is not even a term in the repasos de capitulos either, however caerse is a term in the repasos de capitulos and in there it means to fall down. Thank you for reminding me about me gusta because what you reminded me of was exactly what I thought. I have never used me gusta with any romantic intent, I have always used it to say what I like, for example me gusta dibujar, jugar, y caminar. I don’t recall very well if I ever used me gusta to say who I like and even if I ever have, I never said it with any romantic intent neither did I have any romantic intent.

Yeahright's avatar

@Edna
When I mentioned that gustar was covered in Spanish 1, I meant the basic conjugation followed by something (not someone):
Me gusta
Te gusta
Le gusta
Nos gusta
Les gusta

Edna's avatar

@Yeahright Oh! I see. I’m sorry, I didn’t know.

Yeahright's avatar

^ No problem. I did not clarify what I meant.

JLeslie's avatar

I need to ask my husband, I would be curious about the Mexican input vs Venezuelan. I don’t remember where @Pandora is from. We need @Bob_ too, I can send the Q to him.

@Edna What country is your mom from?

I never would think to use caer for liking someone, but my Spanish is NOT completely fluent. If I was really head over heals with someone I’d probably use enamorado, but I guess that’s more like an intense love? I honestly never hear my husband’s family use enamorado, I either know it from school or dating an Ecuadorian guy.

Mexico seems to use and not use a lot of terms and phrases differently than other countries in Latin America. We could do an entire Q on that.

I would say él no me cae bien, if someone really turned me off. So, as I analyze what I think to say it’s very interesting that I use caer for the negative feeling, but not the positive.

I’m curious if @Yeahright or @Pandora use enamorado for romantic love and if it’s common usage.

Edit: I’ll add I would use gustar for both romantic and non romantic.

Yeahright's avatar

These things can go on and on for ever. This is not a thorough explanation of all the uses and implications of gustar or caer bien. This should have stopped at the first few replies so not to make this seem complicated when it is not. It is actually pretty straight forward.

I always try to stick to the OPs specific Q as much as I can and not give too many other possibilities to avoid confusing the OP—especially when they are not advanced. An extensive explanation at this point can only lead to more confusion.

The question was basically what is the meaning/difference between gustarse & caerse bien?

To KISS, I answered directly on my first reply, but I will summarize it below:

1. There were errors in the verbs, they used gustarse and caerse bien (reflexive verbs ending in se), so they had to be corrected to gustar and caer bien (infinitive).

2. We are talking about people, so we eliminate gustar for things (cosas). That leaves us with gustar (alguien).

3. Gustar (alguien) can mean (i) to be attracted to someone romantically or (ii) to like someone just for friendship, to like their personality, etc.

4. Caer bien (alguien) means to like the person not romantically but being fond of them.

5. The context and other details will ultimately determine and reinforce exactly what the speaker wants to mean and express.

6. There are a few other uses of both verbs that cannot be understood by the OP until they have clarified and master the essential use of gustar & caer bien. So at first, it wasn’t a good time to deal with those.

Yeahright's avatar

@JLeslie You want to make this about Spanish dialects, and it is not. This case is not about Mexican vs Venezuelan Spanish. Also, I am not just a Venezuela Spanish speaker, I am also a Venezuelan college professor and I consult the RAE for Spanish correctness as much as possible. I am not obnoxiously trying to say I am an authority in the language for I am not, but I have been teaching it for 30 years and I know that although native speakers are fluent in the language, they often lack the criteria to explain and understand certain linguistic constructions. For instance, the implications of reflexive verbs as opposed to infinitives.

Just like English is taught at school to native speakers, Spanish speakers have to take Spanish classes (Castellano) in K-12 and college because speaking the language and understanding how it works are two different things.

Mexico seems to use and not use a lot of terms and phrases differently than other countries in Latin America.

This is not exclusive to Mexico, but true for every single country in Latin America.

I recommend you read about dialectical variations of the language to understand it better.

Yeahright's avatar

@JLeslie
I would say él no me cae bien, if someone really turned me off. So, as I analyze what I think to say it’s very interesting that I use caer for the negative feeling, but not the positive.

Caer bien/mal can be used for positive and negative, you can make a few combinations:

Él me cae bien. I like him.
Él me cae mal. I do not like him.
Él no me cae bien. I do not like him.
Él no me cae mal. I (kind of) like him.

Yeahright's avatar

@JLeslie
I’m curious if @Yeahright or @Pandora use enamorado for romantic love and if it’s common usage.

1. Enamorado has the word amor in the middle, so it involves love. It means to be in love with someone or like something passionately. So, yes, it is commonly and widely used.

2. Enamorado is an adjective and therefore needs a linking verb in the sentence, e.g., Él está enamorado de María. and Yo estoy enamorada de la pintura de Picasso.

3. Enamorar is a verb, e.g., Él se enamora con facilidad. and Yo no me quiero enamorar de él.

4. In countries like Ecuador and Peru (and probably others), they use enamorado-a as a noun to mean boyfriend, girlfriend, lover, SO, etc. e.g., María es la enamorada de Luis. and Esa chica tiene muchos enamorados. The use of this word as a noun is not correct from the prescriptive standpoint (RAE), but it is widely used in those dialects. It is never used like that in Venezuela.

Yeahright's avatar

@JLeslie I love that you love Spanish and I love that you have always shown great interest in advancing—although I suspect you are very fluent already.

I feel I can freely discuss these language topics with you because I know that you do not have the tendency of taking things personally when that is not the intention. I hope you see that the tone of my comments is always academic and friendly and to elicit a cordial exchange, not to pass as an expert in anything or that I hold the ultimate and absolute true in anything.

JLeslie's avatar

@Yeahright Yes, I take everything you wrote as helpful. Not to worry.

I realize of course that Spanish speakers know to some extent vocabulary differences and dialects that are used in countries outside of their own, just like in English I know regional differences in America and also words and phrases used in the UK. Since you teach you are very well versed, which I appreciate.

I asked my husband and he said, “yeah, me cae bien, I use it.” He said he doesn’t use it for romantic like.

My grammar in Spanish is terrible by the way.

Yeahright's avatar

I asked my husband and he said, “yeah, me cae bien, I use it.” He said he doesn’t use it for romantic like.
Right. It would be wrong if he used me cae bien for romantic like, because it is quite the opposite. It is used to express fondness and not romantic attraction.

bob_'s avatar

Dude, are you just using us for your homework? :P

@Yeahright is right.

Response moderated (Spam)

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